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Andy Rubin. Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Essential, a mobile phone maker founded by Andy Rubin, announced on Wednesday that it will shut down.

Why it matters: Rubin co-founded Android, the mobile phone operating system that Google acquired in 2005, where he remained to oversee Android before moving on to head up the company's robotics unit.

Background: Rubin left Google in late 2014 with a $90 million exit package following accusations of sexual misconduct that weren't revealed until years later.

  • Essential released its debut product in 2017, after raising $330 million from investors like Amazon and Tencent, but it never gained much market traction.

In a statement, Essential said:

"Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential."

The bottom line: It’s hard to stand out making smartphones, even if you are the father of Android.

Go deeper: Axios coverage of Essential

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.